Irish music is going through a golden phase right now. Artists on both sides of the border are asserting their identities, adding a fresh spin to some vital sounds.
In particular, Irish club sounds are gaining international prominence, and Belfast's AVA Festival – returning for its seventh year this summer – acting as a fantastic showcase.
Helming a brand new venue on the Titanic Slipways, AVA Festival digs into house and techno, but also a range of other sounds.
Ahead of AVA Festival, Carlton Doom offers his guide to the best R&B, rap and hip-hop artists coming out of Ireland, crossing both sides of the border.
In his words:
“This year I'm actually roughly planning my set. And I'm gonna bang it out. Before I've always winged it, just read the crowd and done my thing. After playing so many years, I already know what works and what the crowd want. I've never been more eager to play a gig I don't think! It's an amazing feeling to know beforehand the crowd is that good – I can't think of many other gigs you have that guarantee. It's grown so strongly, it's reputation precedes itself, and for good reason!”
Check out his picks below…
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Dublin City based garage, grime and club Lords. I've had the pleasure to share a bill with Mathman and it was an absolute hit parade. Definitely one to watch for the 2-steppers.
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North London born, Belfast-based grime/drill artist Emby is fast rising and for good reason. Anyone that caught him at last year's AVA Festival saw him as a general leading the crowd of troops. One of my favourite MC's and always a joy to perform alongside.
Alternative R&B artist from Dublin – Monjola is one of the most exciting acts emerging from Ireland at the moment. Check out the collab with fellow Irish performer in my list, Aby Coulibaly.
Softly rapping and singing in a mix of Spanish and English, Jess Smyth aka Biig Piig puts her own, original, idiosyncratic spin on neo-soul.
Where to begin?! The Irish queen of garage and R&B. Having just headlined shows at the 3olympia theatre, there's currently no stopping her.
I also had the pleasure of previously collaborating with Gemma many moons ago under UNKNWN. Anyone who saw her perform at AVA last year knows what a performance she puts on, and how great the crowd interaction is.
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Off the AVA Line up, Carlton Doom has his eye on these artists…
As part of a young but blossoming hip-hop scene in the North of Ireland, Leo Miyagee has been setting the pace throughout the last few years with a number of headline shows – now including a full band.
As previously mentioned, Aby is an extremely talented up and coming artist in the Irish R&B scene. Her music is a delicate fusion of neo-soul and R&B. Smoooooooth.
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AVA Festival takes place June 4th – 5th // ticket LINK.